TED Conversations

Simon Peter Debbarma

Student of History, Desire Machine Collective

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Why is art (or artistically creative fields) often not taken seriously?

My question is self-explanatory.

I live in India where the shortest path to success in life is getting a degree and a good job. Its basically the traditional way. Very few actually pursue something artistic. And very few parents actually encourage it.

I found that most parents don't want their children to take risks and enter the creative fields. Most want their kids to be engineers and doctors. Here in India, most kids either end up wanting to be an engineer or a doctor and many parents want just that. Maybe its the financial stress but there's no explanation for it.

The creativeness in kids is killed although some lucky ones have it until the end of their lives. This is also shared by Ken Robinson''s talk. Creativity is art and its sad to see art dying in the younger generations.

As you can see this is very prevalent in my country and other Asian countries. You can also figure out why we can be kind of over-achievers if we try hard. John Maeda's father as said in this TED talk says that his father told a certain shop owner that he was "good in math" while his teacher had said that John was good in "math and art". His father had left out art. I've been in similar situations too and its kind of sad to see that your talent is not uphold-ed or recognized by the ones you hoped would appreciate it. Maybe I was not good enough, but it didn't mean that I couldn't improve. Many go through this and I think coming up with a solution should be on our agenda.

What can you do to change this? Are you willing to change your society?
How can we keep children interested and their love for art burning through their school life?
Is this something only my generation will have to face? Do you think this will change in later generations?Will we be supportive of our children in what they are good at, and at not what you want them to be?

Topics: art creativity

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  • Jul 27 2013: Well i live in kerala,a state in india in the heart of this problem i must say.Here people who pursue art are stigmatised so much by the orthodox society that they tend to conceal their talents and creativity in art as if it was something to be ashamed of.Well,it definetly is nothing to be ashamed of , i love art and language buts lets face it ,no art or language has changed the way humans live ,no art has ever revolutionised life as a whole,so artists are not considered a prerequisite for a "developed" nation of the modern era.
    But when we live in such a competetive world let's reason, art is a person's inherent skill,it is the true expression of his inner being.He was not taught art but was rather born with it, now since he was gifted with this free of cost,he must put in some effort in life.Now the effort he puts in is the risk he faces by going up against a hostile world which looks down upon him.
    Nothing good comes free and the price one pays for becoming an artist is by risking his life.If so, why bother if no one ever patted an artist on the back and encouraged him.
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      Jul 28 2013: I'm glad that as an Indian you see my dilemma but u ask, why i should bother? Well because its worth bothering about. If you question in similar manner to each and everything I doubt u will find an answer for everything.

      Does it not make you happy when you see others happy? Being happy is not only something temporary, Each and every person has and needs the right to be happy his/her own life. Its how we build a community, its how we make things happen, its how we in return live happy.

      If someone is talented to do stuff and then does not get encouraged or appreciated then eventually becomes an unhappy person.he might get over it but it leaves a dent. Every person must use his talent to give back something to the world or just to satisfy himself. Thats how a person stays happy, doing what he likes even if its not accepted by everyone, even if he does it part-time. I'm guessing you are a christian and in the Bible, it tells us to use our talents.

      So now ask me again why I should bother about this?
      • Aug 5 2013: I think u got me a little wrong.The question was nothing but a rhetoric.My point was simple,all what i meant to say was that since art can never be meausured on the same scale as that of science in terms of improving our understanding of our world or improving human life as a whole,the artist has no moral right to claim a recognition or appreciation that is recieved by a scientist.Now since art is more or less a form of entertainment and the arist an ingenious creation of God, he has to fight his way up to the top.I said that this struggle is a part of his life and who he is and if we were to take it away he would never turn out to be as great as he could.....Remember the story of the man who helped a butterfly break free from its cocoon and the butterfly died in the end,same thing,names changed

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